California nonprofit challenges claims made by Measure 2 opponents

Measure 2 is on the November ballot in North Dakota to legalize cannabis.

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — A nonprofit in California is pushing back against claims that legalizing cannabis will increase crime, teen use and traffic deaths.

Diane Goldstein is the Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and a former police officer. She says they feel this isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. The group advocates for criminal justice and drug policy reforms and it’sĀ full of current and former law enforcement professionals, judges and attorneys.

“We need to, as law enforcement professionals, recognize that we always have input with legislators, but we need to take a step back and see what our constituents and the people that we serve want in this matter. People are tired of the war on drugs and we’ve known this for years and law enforcement and legislators quite frankly are not doing their job because they’re ignoring what the people want. In the United States, isn’t that what their role is? To listen to their constituents?” Goldstein said.

She questions whether the cost of arresting someone for cannabis is worth the resources.

“You have clerks that have to run paperwork to the courts. You have court officers, you have judges, you have corrections officials. I don’t know if North Dakota actually really knows how much marijuana enforcement costs them but I’m gonna say it’s more than they think about,” Goldstein said.

Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski disagrees and says cannabis should not be treated like alcohol.

“Even when you talk about it being for only 21 and older, well, just like any other prescription medication that adults bring into their homes, kids have access to it,” Zibolski said.

Goldstein says the responsibility is on adults to make sure the drug isn’t getting to the wrong hands.

“We as adults have a responsibility, if we’re going to, whether it’s drink alcohol or smoke tobacco or have marijuana in our house, to keep them away from our kids. Some of this is about parenting as well. The kids are alright. We’re arresting them less, they’re committing less crimes, smoking less pot. In fact, they’re kinda boring, aren’t they?” Goldstein said.

Goldstein adds people view drug use from a morality lens and understands the concern for cannabis legalization.

Zibolski adds legalizing cannabis will “greatly strain our law enforcement resources and exacerbate an already existing issue with addiction.”

Categories: Crime, Local News, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections